Resistance training safe, feasible during recovery from median sternotomy
Resistance training, either alone or with aerobic exercise, appears to be safe and feasible in patients recovering from cardiac surgery via median sternotomy, leading to improvements in physical function, reports a recent meta-analysis.
Accessing the databases of Pubmed, Embase, Medline, SportsDiscus and CINAHL, researchers retrieved 18 studies with a cumulative sample size of 3,462 patients. Only studies that explicitly included resistance training in the exercise intervention were eligible for inclusion. In cases with a comparator group, papers were only included if the controls received treatment as usual or no intervention.
Four studies evaluated cardiopulmonary capacity, measured either as peak oxygen uptake or treadmill time. Pooled analysis revealed a trend towards improved capacity relative to controls (standardized mean difference [SMD], 0.26, 95 percent CI, –0.08 to 0.60; p=0.14).
The same was true for functional capacity, evaluated using the 6-minute walk test (mean difference, 13.79, –4.07 to 31.59; p=0.13), though heterogeneity of evidence was high. There was likewise a nominal improvement in anthropometric measures, assessed as skinfolds and body weight (SMD, 0.11, –0.16 to 0.39; p=0.42).
On the other hand, resistance training showed no significant advantage or disadvantage when compared with aerobic training in terms of cardiopulmonary capacity (SMD, 0.24, –0.32 to 0.80; p=0.40) and anthropometric variables (SMD, –0.06, –0.36 to 0.24; p=0.70).
Researchers noted that the definition of resistance training differed across different studies. “Furthermore, there is no consistency in how resistance training is applied, progressed and evaluated following median sternotomy.”